Netflix, Etsy and Kickstarter are among the roster of companies lining up to support the Federal Communications Commission in its upcoming net neutrality battle with broadband providers.
The Web companies are asking the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals for permission to intervene in the upcoming lawsuit that will determine the fate of the net neutrality regulations.
The rules, which are slated to take effect on June 12, prohibit broadband providers from blocking or degrading traffic, and from charging content companies (also called edge providers) extra fees for prioritized delivery. The FCC's open Internet order, which reclassifies broadband as a utility service, also contains a “general conduct” provision that broadly prohibits carriers from hindering Web users' ability to access content.
Trade groups, along with AT&T and CenturyLink, recently asked the D.C. Circuit Court to vacate the rules. This week, the trade groups and telecoms also asked that court to stay several key components of the regulations, including the decision to reclassify broadband as a utility service.
Netflix and the other companies that back the net neutrality regulations say in new court papers that the rules offer essential protections.
“The FCC’s rules address threats to the open Internet by, among other things, prohibiting [broadband] providers from interfering with an individual’s ability to access Netflix’s video service,” Netflix argues. The company adds that the rules “will ensure that consumers and businesses can access a competitive ecosystem of online content, applications, and services.”
Venture capital firm Union Square Ventures, which also seeks to intervene, says in its papers that “substantially all” of the companies in its portfolio “depend on edge providers' ability to reach their users without interference by broadband Internet access carriers.”
Other companies seeking to intervene in the case include Vimeo, Meetup and Tumblr.
Advocacy groups like the Center for Democracy & Technology and Free Press also hope to get involved in the battle.
The Center for Democracy & Technology argues that the regulations enable it to continue to promote its views online.
“CDT relies on an open Internet to communicate with lawmakers, stakeholders, and the public in furtherance of its mission to promote consumer privacy, free expression, and innovation on the Internet,” the group says in a motion asking to intervene in the case.